Sunday, December 27, 2009

A New Normal

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6

"Lean not on your own understanding"--- I have put everything into God's hands this past week. I don't understand, but I trust Him and know that He has a perfect plan. His kingdom calendar--as Beth Moore says--makes no sense to humans, but He understands it because it is from Him. Our birth date is listed as is our day that we return to Heaven to be with Him.

Last Saturday began as a typical day. We had church basketball, then lunch peppered with phone calls--including one from my parents. They call and "visit" each Sunday afternoon. Saturdays are generally not a day that we chat unless Carolina has a football game, and Daddy and I call at halftime and at the end of the game. But, last Saturday, he called. We talked for a while--I caught him up on the last Christmas presents that had arrived via UPS, and we went over the Christmas menu again. Normal--things I understand. The afternoon progressed. I had running clothes on and was driving Child #2 to a birthday party when I got a call from Hubby to come back home. It's the call that sends those nerves into tingling mode--the not knowing.

We threw clothes in suitcases and began the 2 hour drive to my parents' home. I knew that I could pray..and pray I did. I sent out texts for friends to pray as well. They did. All I knew was that Daddy had gone to the church to turn on the heat for last Sunday's service. When he got back home, he told mama that he didn't feel good. He sat down in his chair, and she went to get him Sprite and a tylenol. Then, God took my precious Daddy home. After serving God for 86 years, it was time for his reward in Heaven. And what a celebration it must have been! I have visions of what it looked like! Amazing!

Still in the car, I talked to Mama. She told me that EMS had taken Daddy to the hosptial. But deep down, she said," I think your Daddy is gone." Those, sweet friends, are hard words to hear. After I hung up, I gave my Daddy to God--He loves Him more than we do. As soon as I did, that peace which surpasses all understanding flooded my heart and soul. I knew that he was not here any longer. But, the peace that God gave me was amazing. Truly wonderful.

In the past week, I have seen friends and family that I hadn't seen in years. I have received cards from all over--and am so appreciative of them :). I have helped to pick out a casket. I have eaten a thousand bites of desserts! I have loved on my mama and sister. I have seen the pain and joy of loved ones. I have been comforted by scripture. I have celebrated my Daddy's life. I have celebrated the birth of my Savior. I have seen God's handprints in this entire week. I want to continue to see this as I seek Him and praise Him for my blessings.

I want to thank Elaine for posting last week about Daddy. She is a darling, and I treasure our friendship. Your comments and cards are so thoughtful and appreciated. I pray that your Christmas was wonderful. We had a great one under the circumstances. God is good. And now we begin our new normal. Love to you all.

Sweet Blessings,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Broken Computer!

Mercy! Our computer is having major issues! I cannot check email, cannot post on my blog or read your precious comments, or even complete an order to online! I get just to the checkout cart, and bam! The computer dies!!

I spoke with the computer company today. 23 minutes the first time and 17 the second. As soon as hubby gets home from basketball practice, hopefully, he'll have his time with them as well. Other than that, we're doing great!!! I"ll be back ASAP to post with you sweet things! And, I'll share the cute idea that I sorta told you all about on Friday!

Sweet Blessings!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Another Promise Kept!

Last week, I promised to share a new yummy recipe with y'all that my friend Jennifer brought to our Christmas par-tay! It is delicious and colorful! Perfect for a dish to take to a party! Copy, paste, and enjoy!!

Jennifer's Orzo and Wild Rice Salad
1/2 cup wild rice
2 cups water
1 cup orzo pasta
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
3 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons corn kernels, drained
3 tablespoons diced yellow bell pepper
3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons diced green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring the wild rice and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender but not mushy, 20 to 45 minutes depending on the variety of wild rice. Drain off any excess liquid, fluff the rice with a fork, and cook uncovered 5 minutes more. Once finished, spread into a shallow dish, and refrigerate until cold.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the orzo pasta, and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minute. Drain, rinse with cold water, and chill.
Place the chilled rice and orzo into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the red onion, currants, corn, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper. Season with 2 tablespoons basil, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons basil. Slowly whisk in the canola and olive oils until emulsified. Stir the dressing into the pasta, and refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Nutritional Information :
Amount Per Serving Calories: 566 Total Fat: 29.1g Cholesterol: <>

I promise you'll love this! "Taste and see that the Lord is good!" Our Sunday School Christmas party is tomorrow night, and I am hosting a party at the house on Monday, so I feel sure that I'll give it a try! Not sure about the currants though!! It reminds me of Peter Rabbit!

I will be sharing a simple Christmas gift that you can all make--promise!!--to share with a child, relative, or even a shut-in. Easy peasy! I'll post it on Tuesday, so be on the lookout! BTW, I have been catching up on some of your beautiful posts from this week. I am SO blessed by them!! You all are amazing! Enjoy your weekend, and stay warm--especially Yolanda!! It's -3 out there in Kansas!! Mercy!

Sweet Blessings!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Comfort Foods

Hey, everybody! Are you all staying warm? I'm wearing two sweaters today!! I am just not a cold weather person! It does make me realize that Christmas is just around the corner! (17 days to be exact!). It's about that time for me to pull out tried and true recipes that my boys enjoy each Christmas. We do the traditional sausage and cheese balls, Christmas casserole for Christmas morning, and of course, cookies! We make lots of those! And even though we give away tons, we manage to eat almost as many.

I have a recipe that I wanted to share with y'all today. It's a chocolate chip cake that everybody goes bananas over! I make it for birthdays, surprises, and for Christmas. Everybody loves it! I have a confession to make that only a few of you are aware of. I don't eat dark chocolate. Never have, never will. I simply don't like it! The smell sends me over the edge--especially when I was pregnant! So, if Mama makes one, it's for somebody she really loves!

My darlin' friend, Donita, shared this recipe with us years ago. So now, I share it with y'all.

Donita's Inside-Out Chocolate Bundt Cake

-1 pkg( 4-1/2 oz) Jello instant chocolate pudding

-1 pkg ( 2 layer size) Devil's Food cake mix ( with or w/o pudding)

-1 pkg chocolate chips ( I use milk chocolate and only 1/2 the bag)

-1 and 3/4 cup of milk

-2 eggs

Combine all ingredients except chips until well-blended (about 2 minutes). Stir in the chips. Pour into a greased and floured ( I use Baker's Joy!) 12 cup tube or bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 5-55 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Do not overbake. Cool 15 minutes in the pan. (Do not tap cake on the counter before baking--causes chips to sink.)

I wanted to be able to have Mr. Linky here to make sharing your recipes easier, but, mercy, I have no idea how to do it! I can't even find it! If any of you know how and would be ever so sweet to share this info, I would greatly appreciate it!! If you want to leave your favorite recipe in the comments, or just have us go to your blog if you have a recipe to share, please let us know! I look forward to some new and yummy things to eat!!

Sweet Blessings!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Good News and More Good News

Don't you just love some good news? I have some to share with my friends in Bloggyland this evening! (And, yes, I have the hymn with that catchy title just playing my head!!) First of all, I received two items of interest in the mail this afternoon. It truly was hard not to do a happy dance standing out in the street! So, instead, I tore into the envelopes standing in my driveway just to end the waiting.

Envelope #1 was from Nice Lady that I posted about last week...the one who had my chairs and fabric that she was going to slipcover back in January, and they burned up in her warehouse fire. Y'all, bless her heart! She sent me the sweetest card and enclosed was a check to cover my losses!!!!!! YES!!! People still make and keep promises! Love it! "I desire to do Your will, o my God; Your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8. Praying to do His will by encouraging her and praying for her and believing her became part of my heartfelt routine. I truly want to believe the best in people.

Envelope #2 was from the State Department of South Carolina. It was quite an official looking document from the Secretary of State! I kept looking for a stamp on the paper saying"denied." But, glory! It was approved! Y'all, I have an official, real-live business license for Susan Hood Photography!!! Whoohoo! I think I'll frame it and put it over our bed! Just kidding! I'll be working on the website over the weekend.

Third--not in an envelope this time--was a beautiful gift from a darlin' girl that I met in my favorite store (Hobby Lobby). Last week, I was wandering through the decorative picks to jazz up last year's wreaths. I was admiring the pretty ribbons while chatting with the other ladies on the aisle about Christmas projects. I love getting new ideas and meeting new people! Well, this girl started talking to me about the picks that I had in my hand. Long story short, she is a PROFESSIONAL tree decorator for our town's festival of trees! She has some on displayat the Hyatt and the Hampton Inn! Impressive. I plan on checking them out this weekend.
Anyhow, she talked me into putting down my cutesy little picks and letting her create 2 wreaths for me--for free! It's the "pay it forward" attitude! Wow! A complete stranger offering to make my boring wreaths all fru-fru! I dropped off the wreaths yesterday morning and picked them up today....she's fast! Take a look at what she did:
They lead into the study which is decorated in black, pink and green. Susan colors!!
They had to match my window mistreatments (thank you, Nester!!) in paisley and embellished with hot glued fringe! No sewing there, people!
She even used fringe from the fabric department instead of garland-y stuff (which I do love!) That's being creative--definitely thinking outside the box.
OK, reflection of it in the mirror in the hallway. I just love it! She truly has a gift and is so willing to share it with strangers. This is a huge lesson that I will share and pay forward to others. But I wanted to share it with you all first. :)
Enjoy the weekend! Think of ways to serve a stranger and pay it forward!
Next week, I want to try using MR. LINKY to do a post on favorite Christmas recipes. Pull out your recipe boxes for those tried and true ones to share. I want those recipes that your great aunt Doralyn (or whomever!) passed down to you or your mom or your dad--nothing brand new!! Promise??? I'll plan on seeing y'all back here on Tuesday--maybe I can figure out the linky thingie by then---if not, I'll be hollering at some of you savvy bloggers!
Sweet Blessings!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's on the top of your tree?

Mercy! Look at all that ribbon! This was only one box of many! My precious friend, Alice, loves her some ribbon!!! She has oodles an oodles of it stored away. Just waiting for people to put on a sad face and say, "I don't know how to make a pretty bow!!" So, "bow-making 101" class began last night after my first Christmas party of the season! Alice also hosted this! Our women's ministry leadership team got together and had food, fun, and fellowship last night. Oh, I love these ladies!

Well, Caci and Jennifer weren't quite ready to go home after the party was over...something about letting their hubbies put the kiddos down for the night! Imagine that! I NEVER would have done anything like that when my boys were little!!! HAAAA! I needed to pick up child #1 after basketball practice around 10ish, so I was prepared to chill out and visit some more. But the boxes of ribbon were just sitting there...tempting us....teasing us with their gorgeous hues and shiny glittery sparkles!!! Alice asked us if we wanted her to show us how she made her bows. Well, duh! Of course we did! She was so patient, so loving, so sweet to share her tips on bow-making 101. Unfortunately, we 3 failed the class, and Alice wound up making each of us bows!!! Mine are gorgeous!!
Alice is making mine in the picture. The ribbon came from Sam's.
So, that leads me to ask y'all...what do you put on top of your Christmas tree? I will put the bows towards the top of the tree with a star or angel on the tippy top. (I haven't found either one of them yet in my ornament boxes!!) I would LOVE to hear your stories! Please share!!
Jennifer also shared her yummy recipe with our group for orzo and wild rice. Y'all...delicious! I'll share it with you later in the week.
BTW, Beth is having a darlin' give-away at her blog! Cute, cute, cute!! Go over and put your name in the hat!!

Sweet Blessings!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving on Friday!

Oh, I hope that y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We surely did! We take turns hosting Thanksgiving in our family. This year, we went to east Tennessee to give thanks and share blessings with Hubby's family. This also meant that the only thing I had to do to prepare the meal was to put ice in the glasses! Seriously! My mother-in-love DID let me wear a family apron to make it look as though I had participated in the food cooking! But, I did not! Wait a minute, lest I tell a fib! I did get to put the cheese whiz in the celery stalks! Sorry about that! I did two things this year! (And only one person ate the stuffed celery, and it was not me!!)

Wanted to share a few of the pictures from our get together! Of course, we found a race to run on Thanksgiving! I let the boys run, so I could take pictures...which I LOVE to do! And, it saved us some money! Those races add up!
Child #2 and me before the race--a little chilly down on the riverfront! I'm sporting my new precious Peruvian hat that a darlin' friend brought me from the church mission trip this summer.
Child #1 cruisin' down the final stretch. He had way too much fun! First race for him since Cross Country season.
Child #2 came flying up soon after.
Chillin' after the 8K (which is almost 5 miles). Just about time to get back to the house and start getting ready for the turkey!

Auntie, me, and mother-in -love in the wildness of trying not to burn the rolls (which were home-made, of course!!!) .This apron is not quite my shade of green, but....!
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever...for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." Psalm 107: 1,9. As we drove home this afternoon in the brilliant sunshine, I thought about my blessings. Due to a rockslide on I-40, we detoured through towns and communities that we'd never seen. Some of the homes were so pitiful...poverty in the mountains still exists today. We see those in poverty overseas, and our hearts break. What about those right down the road from our homes? Houses that look as if they could topple over. Kudzu growing from old pick-ups in the front yard--this house was not abandoned--there was smoke coming from the fireplace. These were truly "the least of these" that Jesus speaks about. I wondered about their Thanksgiving meal...the condition of their for the rest of the week...steady income. Then, knowing the only thing that I could do for them was to pray for God to bless them and meet their needs. Driving along the twisting road, we saw this scenerio over and over. Oh, I pray that God would truly bless their hearts and their lives.

Sweet Blessings!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bless Those Hearts!

Once upon a time, there was a Mama who loved to shop for bargains...for things she could repurpose (buying someone else's stuff that they were tired of!). This was fun! This was pretty cheap too! Last January, she and her sweet friend, Teresa, discovered 2 Broyhill chairs at the Thrift Store. These chairs were in great condition and perfect for the study that she was redoing. So, for the low, low price of $20.00 each, Mama bought these Williamsburg blue and mauve floweredy chairs with the intention of making her own slipcovers.

Slipcovers 101 Tutorial was a complete failure!! Mama just couldn't get the seams to match, and it was plain 'ol ugly! So, she began calling and asking around this textile town for the names of people who could make slipcovers. Poof! A nice lady said that she would do it on the side (she worked for a nice man who sold custom draperies on E-BAY) for the price of $45.00 each!! Mama was thrilled! Beyond thrilled! So, last January, she met the nice lady at CVS and gave her one of the chairs and the other two pillows for her to create beautiful slipcovers. Mama had visions of cute monogrammed pillows tossed casually upon the thrift store chairs--which she reminded Hubby were a bargain!

Nice lady called Mama in the summer to let her know that she no longer was working for nice man with the nice sewing machines in a very busy warehouse that made custom draperies. Nice lady was ordering her own machine and would be working on the chairs soon. Very soon! In her own building behind her house. Mama is patient.

School begins! Mama checks in regularly to see if the slipcovers are done. Mama heard lots of stories as to why the chairs weren't finished yet. Mama is patient.

Thanksgiving is two days away. Nice lady has had chairs for 1o months. Hubby is READY to have a place to sit in the study besides the desk chair! Hubby implores Mama to call and tell nice lady that we need chairs back now...not next week, but now, pronto! Mama calls nice lady coming home today from subbing! Nice lady is thrilled to hear from Mama. In fact, she asks if Mama is sitting down. Mama usually sits down while driving the Mama mini-van! Mama gets her hopes up a little bit. Maybe....just maybe, the slipcovers are ready, and Mama can pick them up!!! What a wonderful surprise for Hubby that would be! Nice pretty slipcovers FINALLY adorning the two chairs in the study. Mama waits patiently for nice lady to tell her the news.

Well, nice lady doesn't use the words that Mama really wants to hear. Instead, she begins to talk about the FIRE that destroyed her warehouse/building over the weekend and that she was sorry but Mama's chairs are NO MORE! yesterday is gone! Mama is in shock as she drives down the road. No nothing to sit on in the study. But Mama does ask if anyone was hurt--a fireman with smoke inhalation had to be hospitalized. Bless his heart! Bless nice lady's heart! Then....nice lady asked for Mama's address so she could send a check from her insurance company to Mama! What?? Money for Mama's losses? Mama is still holding her breath until the check arrives in her mailbox. Bless Mama's heart!

Mama is desperately clinging to this Scripture! A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

Thank you for praying for nice lady--Mama is praying that nice lady is telling the truth! And this is a true story! Mama could never make up anything quite like this one!

Sweet Blessings,

Monday, November 16, 2009

Things I Love!

I took photos on Saturday afternoon of a high school senior who is just beautiful and precious to boot! We've done swim team with her since she was tiny. She also runs cross country, and we see her quite often at meets. Needless to say, we had a BALL!!! We went to a farm owned by some wonderful folks at our church. The property was simply breathtaking. Many brides have been photographed there for their wedding portrait. I could see why.
Is she adorable or what? Y'all, I am simply having a great time doing what I love!
Another thing that I am loving is spending time in God's Word! Oh, it is so rich in Truth! I keep finding nuggets hidden in the pages just for me from God! This Wednesday, I am leading a workshop that I mentioned awhile back--praying the scriptures for your husband. I cannot wait to share more nuggets of His Wisdom with some of our gals at church. It is so exciting to see how God can use each of us for His purpose. Please keep these ladies and myself covered in your prayers! I really do appreciate it!
Here is the scripture that I am leaving y'all with today: "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace." 1 Cor. 14:33. I am trying to become obedient to that--therefore, the dishes are calling to be unloaded from the dishwasher, and the clothes need to be folded. Order...order!! And, once I get all of that done, I am pulling the Christmas boxes out of the attic and cranking up the music! Got to when it's 75 degrees outside!!

Sweet Blessings!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Beginning and the End

Bless your hearts! When you people come to my blog, you NEVER know what will greet you! Orange Children are on parade today!!!! The boys junior varsity cross country team painted themselves at the State Cross Country meet on Saturday. They spelled out Go!Mavs! (our mascot is the maverick) Child #2 is the first exclamation point in that first picture!! Those kids had the MOST fun standing out in a dusty field painting letters and painting the names of the varsity boys on their backs! The JV girls got in on the fun and helped out too. I just stood there and laughed and took pictures! This was one of the highlights of the season! The beauty of this team is that the kids have bonded and are more like brothers and sisters than anything I've ever seen. They pick on each other but will take up for each other in a skinny minute! They all cheer their teammates good races and ugly ones alike. And the parents...oh, mercy! We have a ball! We have spent the past 3 months together twice a week! The majority of our parents make it to most of the events. We, too, have bonded! I am going to miss my buddies!!
This has nothing to do with cross country!! Saturday night, after flying back home, I "fru-frued" up a bit (gone were the pink running shoes and t-shirt!). We had "Holiday for Her" at my friend Phebe's church. 25 women in the church decorate a table--they pick the holiday of their choice. Then, they invite 8 friends to join them for a delicious meal, singing, and a guest speaker.

Here is Cindy, me, and Phebe. We love to run, and Cindy is our bicycle babe!
This night gets you in the mood for the upcoming holiday season. Here's my question for y'all today! When on earth do you begin decorating for Christmas? I have a friend who has already begun! I still have not gotten my pumpkin people back in the attic for their 12 month nap! I did buy two Christmas presents today! That's it! I need some encouragement to get on the ball! Let's hear your ideas for getting ready to decorate. I'll get to the decorating part in another post!
Still have errands to run! Have a fabulous day, my friends!

Sweet Blessings!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday #3

Hey, y'all! I cannot believe that this week is almost over! It has flown by! I am subbing today and tomorrow in third grade...we will have a blast! They are a precious group!

I am linking up with Truth 4 the Journey today to share five things that I am thankful for. We would love for you to join us! 'Tis the month for thankfulness!

1. I am so thankful for good results from my Mama's surgery. Whoohoo! God is good! The surgeon removed 18 lymph nodes, and all 18 were clear! Our God is still in the business of healing! She will go back next week after the oncologist and endocrinologist have determined the best plan for her treatment. She said to tell you all "thank you" for the prayers and please keep them coming!!

2. I am so thankful for my precious husband! Bless his heart! He met with our accountant yesterday to get the real scoop on my starting my photography business! There are several legal errands that I need to do, but God is helping me to take it one step at the time!

3. I am thankful that a workshop I am leading in a few weeks at church is being prayed for and that women are signing up! It is based on a devotional that Renee Swope did back in June! It's how to pray the scriptures for your husband. I cannot wait to see what plans God has in store for these ladies!

4. I am thankful that cross country is ALMOST over!! I love it...don't get me wrong! But I am so ready for things to settle down a bit on Saturdays at our home! The kids are running at the State meet in Columbia this weekend. Running, picture taking, and eating....I will be in my element!!

5. I am thankful that my sweet friend from She Speaks and one of the Proverbs 31 gals is going to meet me for coffee (She'll have the coffee, and I'll have sweet tea! I still haven't learned to like that stuff yet!! Mama keeps hoping that I will!) on Friday after school. Lynn Cowell is speaking in Roswell, Ga. on Friday morning, and will be nearby on I-85 to stop for awhile and visit! She is just darlin'! I can't wait to see her!

Now, take a minute and reflect on some things that God has done for you this week! Count those blessings, chickadees!! Share some of them with me if you get a minute! I would love to hear them too!

Sweet Blessings!

Monday, November 2, 2009

"God Moments"

On Sunday after church, I spent some much needed time enjoying "God moments" on the trails. The fall colors were just gorgeous and so vibrant. One of my trail running buddies and I simply ran. No certain distance. No certain speed. We just ran and talked and talked and talked. We stopped when we wanted and just listened. Utter silence. No cars, phones....anything. Just us and God's creation.

As we traversed the winding trails, our conversation was filled with serious discussions....mama's surgery, her son's new school--she moved 100 miles away from me due to her husband's job! It was also filled with joy over the changing of the leaves! We'd jump over a patch of leaves, and both of us would be so squeal about one that was both red and yellow! "God moments!" Before we had even left the parking lot to run, a group of Japanese families were grilling out under the picnic shelter. (It smelled wonderful!!) Also under the shelter was a family member playing a keyboard! On the side of a moutain!!! I had never seen such a thing! As Cheri and I left for our run, he began to play a familiar hymn, and the other family members joined in! It was beautiful! I knew the words, and I listened for Jesus' name in another language! I've never begun a run with church music like that before!

This morning, I had another "God moment" after reading my e-devotional with Wendy Pope. She challenged her readers to put aside fear of not succeeding and not understanding God's Word to join her in reading through the Bible in a year. I have so much on my plate right now, I almost laughed! Then, God spoke to me through these words.

Isaiah 50:4b, "He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught." (NIV)

Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (NIV)

Proverb 2:1-5, "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." (NIV)

2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (NLT)

Stillness and peace came to my heart. Could I actually do this? Would I have the discipline that it requires? Before I could just shake my head "no" and go on to read my next email, I ordered my Bible study tool for January. It's a new Bible! We have so many Bibles here at the house, but this one is different. It is a chronological NLT that is set up to be read in a year. Wendy says it is only 15 minutes a day. I spend 15 minutes a day on the phone! I know I can spend that time with God!

I forwarded this devotional to some friends of mine. Several of them have responded "yes!" I love it when women say "yes!" to God! If you are interested as well, click on Wendy's name to read her devotional today! It is very encouraging and motivating. I would love for you to join me in this adventure! I'll need all of the encouragement I can get!

My mama goes back to the doctor tomorrow morning for her follow-up. I just got off the phone with her. She said that she is SOoo ready to get the dressing off and take a shower! I totally understand. I'll keep you posted! We'll know which treatment she will need then. We are really praying for the homone pill and no radiation treatment. Thank you all for your prayers! We're still holding onto them! Please keep them coming, you precious friends!

Sweet Blessings!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Really Scary Stuff

I want to thank so many of you for your thoughts and prayers over the last few days with Mama's surgery. Being the week of Halloween, this story is quite fitting. Monday night after I posted, I finally got to bed. Normally, I sleep heavily after not getting much sleep the night before. But Monday night was different. I was in my own bed and should have slept great! But, I kept waking up throughout the night. I didn't know why! Each time I did, I prayed immediately for Mama. Then, I would quickly fall asleep again. This continued all night. But I didn't think too much about it until I talked to my sister the Tuesday morning.
She told me that the night shift at the hospital wasn't quite as "with it" as the earlier shifts had been. Mama got frustrated with the lack of help and actually called Daddy to come back and spend the night in an uncomfy chair in her room. In the middle of the night, her blood sugar levels were over 500! They have never been that high before! Daddy questioned the nurse as to when her insulin had been given. Y'all, they NEVER EVER gave her the insulin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My precious mama could have died because of that! Negligence on the part of the night shift! We are still very upset over this and are looking into the breakdown.
I am thrilled to say that Mama made it home last night just in time for supper! She should have been released Tuesday morning, but because of the insulin issue, it took all day to get her blood sugar level back to normal. Quite frustrating.
It finally clicked in my little 'ol head as to why I was awakened throughout the night. It was none other than the Holy Spirit! I was praying Mama through during this dangerous time, and I didn't even know it! There is a scripture in Romans that talks about this. "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." Romans 8:26
Y'all, God is so good--I know that I say that over and over, but it's true! And I am very thankful.
So that brings me to the pictures that I have posted. Mama's episode was really scary stuff, but my Halloween decor is not! It's fun, and the children love it. We've always talked about the fact that Halloween is a time for pretend --nothing more serious than that...our costumes when the boys were little were football players and karate guys and super heroes. Our church had it's second annual Trunk or Treat on Sunday and collected shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child through Franklin Graham's ministries. We love the fall! And I love my paper mache pumpkin people collection! Take a peek!
Hope you all have a wonderful day! I have my second photo shoot in the morning--as long as the weather cooperates! I am loving finally knowing what I want to be when I grow up!

Sweet Blessings!

Monday, October 26, 2009


It is 8:30 pm, and I am SOooo ready for bed! Daddy got me up at 4:30 am this morning...when most folks are still enjoying their deep sleep! An hour later, my parents and I were on our way to the hospital for Mama's mastectomy.

I made the 2 hour trip home after church yesterday. It was strange being at "home" without my hubby and boys. Just Mama, Daddy and myself. As we chatted at supper, the laughter grew, stories were shared, and we talked about her upcoming surgery. We discussed all that we knew, and I pondered questions that I wanted answered--that neither of my parents had asked the surgeon.

I gave Mama a beautiful yellow prayer shawl that our church's prayer ministry had made just for her! Her eyes lit up, and she just glowed! Just lovely! We finished packing and then started the joking and had more stories. Then...the boobie jokes began! Y'all, we were all laughing so hard! It reminded me of the scene from "Steel Magnolias" where the family is playing cards the night before Julia Roberts' and Sally Fields' surgery--the kidney transplant. That, my friends, is how we were! No sadness or regret...just peace and joy!

This morning, as we waited to be admitted, another couple came in the waiting room. The man smiled and waved at Daddy. The lady looked familiar, but I couldn't place her face. When Daddy called the man's name, I realized who the lady was. Y'all, she was my art teacher from high school!!!!!! She remembered me, and we hugged and squealed at 5:45 am! It's been a LONG time since I took art from her! A very long time!

After Mama was finally taken into surgery, my sister who had arrived began to lighten things up even more. When we all get out! Some poor man who was in the waiting room with close proximity...kept falling asleep and snoring! After the third time, sweet sister whipped out her cell phone and took his picture! We started laughing again! My parent's preacher was also there by this time, and I know she thought we had lost our looney minds! But you know how it is once you get going?? You can't stop the laughter!

The call came that Mama was out of surgery, and everything was good. The doctor removed all that needed to be and then some. By the time that we got to her room, she was waking up and feeling good. The anesthesia did not make her sick--praise! She was just thirsty and hungry! Bless her heart....she had not eaten or had anything to drink in almost 12 hours! Talk about dehydration!

When I finally left the hospital for home, she and Daddy were talking and laughing. He was holding her hand and smiling at her with all of the love that they've shared for over 56 years. Beautiful. God is still in the business of miracles. I witnessed one today. This is an 81 year old woman who has been on insulin for diabetes for over 60 years. That in itself is amazing according to the doctors. She suffered a stroke 10 years ago and had to relearn to walk and write and count money. God is SOoo good. He still has plans for her.(Jeremiah 33:11) She still has work to do for Him. As do I.

My friends who rode to Texas last Sunday are back home in Greenville. I chatted with Robin for a minute tonight. She is simply exhausted...physically and emotionally after a 1200 mile bike ride. We're going to have lunch this week to talk about her trip and how God was right there beside them. I can't wait!

It's time to wash my face and go to bed, people! I am falling asleep as I type! Hope it makes sense! Thank you for your prayers! Please don't stop....we are not quite finished yet!

Sweet Blessings!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

From the Hills of Hincapie to the Land of Lance

Sunday afternoon, a group of a hundred or so gathered at the hospital's Cancer Center for a huge send off celebration! The Challenge to Conquer Cancer(C3) was ready to roll! Cancer survivors and those with loved ones having cancer had been training for MONTHS for this 1200 plus mile ride. They left Greenville, SC (home of George Hincapie) for Austin, TX (home of Lance Armstrong) on a week long journey to raise awareness for cancer detection and treatment. Have you seen them in your town??? They are scheduled to arrive in Austin on Friday for another huge celebration! I am so proud of these folks!!
These are two precious friends of mine! Robin--on the left--whose Dad is a cancer survivor, and Jeni--on the right--who is a cancer survivor herself. She has had over 100 skin cancers removed. That is NOT a typo! Y'all--sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!! I have run marathons with these chickadees and love them dearly!

Caught Jeni digging in the back of her team's van (they are the polka-dot team!) for her gum! Too cute! Check out her socks! She even has polka-dots on her bike helmet. Here is the link to follow the team as they journey out west. would so appreciate your thoughts and prayers! The website is cool--you can track them on their bikes!
Robin made my Mama a magnet for her Yellow Team's car! I told Mama that she was going to Texas and would be famous! She just laughed at me. She has decided upon her treatment option. Monday, she will have surgery and follow it up with radiation. She has some pre-op tests tomorrow. Y'all, we have been surrounded with prayers and peace! God is using this time to fill us with joy--as only He can. I so appreciate your prayers for Mama and Daddy during this time. Again, we are all very positive and know that God will see us through no matter what. He is so good!!!

And this cutie pie is the darling that I took pictures of on Saturday in the pumpkin patch! The scheduled time for us was the only hour in the day that the rain stopped! God was watching over us there as well! I had more fun chasing him around the pumpkins! A true moving target! I took over 100 shots, and we all had a ball! Working on a website for this now--but they are not cheap!!
Y'all have a wonderful day! Thank you for all of the prayers!

Sweet Blessings!